|Travelling Australia - Journal 2013
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7 May 2013
Bonshaw Weir to Nindegully
The night was pretty quiet leading into a cool morning giving us a chance to try out the gas heater recently installed in the van; it worked well to warm the van interior.
We left Bonshaw Weir, returning to the Bruxner Highway and continuing westward for 16 kilometres to the turn-off to Texas with the intention of checking a rest area near Texas on the Dumaresq River. This rest area was a large, flat, open one with about a dozen vans still in it after 9 o'clock in the morning; many looked as if they were there for several days. In Texas, we refuelled then headed north to Inglewood on the Cumberland Highway. The Inglewood-Texas Road was all bitumen with two-lanes of fair quality, much of it with quite narrow two lanes. The road was mostly straight; it undulated over continuous low hills but rarely changed elevation above 300 to 380 metres. Vegetation along the road comprised open woodland on the same undulating, low hills. Prickly pear was fairly common along the road side.
At Inlgewood we joined the Cumberland Highway and headed west towards Goondiwindi. This road was very much a major highway with a wider two-lane bitumen surface and a large number of truck, mostly going in the opposite direction. The land was fairly open paddocks with scattered woodland; it was supposedly cattle country but few cattle were to be seen; there were some goats. Birds were often seen near the road, White Winged Coughs were common in their groups and flying, as usual, between one and two metres high cross the road - just the height to be collected by a semi-trailer or caravan. But we see surprisingly few road kill birds. Groups of Apostle birds were also common along the road but they tend to forage on the road verges and not fly across the road.
Past Inglewood we passed a large olive grove. Between Inglewood and Goondiwindi was pretty well flat, open paddocks with scattered woodland; there was some cropping with spray irrigation but there was not enough of any particular activity to conclude that it dominated. The ground sloped gently downward between Inglewood and Goondiwindi. Inglewood was at an elevation of about 280 metres, with Goondiwindi at about 200 metres.
In Goondiwindi we stopped to buy lunch at a bakery we have used before, then we refuelled before heading out of Goondiwindi on the road to St George.
West of Goondiwindi the ground was generally level with elevations about 180 to 190 metres. There were many cleared paddocks but no dominant crop although wheat was increasingly seen for a while as we moved west. Scraps of cotton on the edge of the road indicated that cotton bales had been trucked along this road, probably to gins in Goondiwindi, but we didn't see where the cotton trail originated.
|Pile of grain at the Talwood grain centre.
|Once we more than 100 kilometres from Goondiwindi, past the village and large grain silo at Talwood, the land became less open with far less clearing. The sequence of small villages along the road which had, presumably, once been centres of rural activity also ended.|
|Bonshaw to Nindegully - page 2|
There seemed to be something of a return to grazing but, despite some proud signage on properties asserting their commitment to specific cattle breeds (especially Angus), there were few cattle to be seen. According to the rural media much of inland Australia is suffering from a lack of rainfall and a drought is feared to be imminent; many graziers are selling cattle to reduce their stock numbers in case the worst happens. Despite reports of reduced rainfall we saw many water-courses full to overflowing with water. Not only were the creeks full but so were billabongs and waterholes visible from the road.
The road was mostly straight and nearly flat, the two lanes of bitumen were not quite wide enough to comfortably pass an oncoming semi-trailer or B-double but there was no need to go off the bitumen to do so. Traffic was very light in both directions. The road's bitumen surface was not really smooth and the vehicle tended to bounce quite a bit. Different sections of road had different comfortable speeds which could be 80, 85, 90 or 95 kilometres an hour. Eventually I gave up trying to match our speed with the road's comfort limit and settled on 85 kph.
Approaching our destination at Nindigully we passed a stock trailer on its side on the side of th road. This was one of the full-size, double-deck trailers fitted in road trains and there it was on its side beside the bitumen with passers-by able to see all the wheels, axles and underside. Superficially, it appeared undamaged. How this could have happened on a straight, flat section of road was a mystery.
Near the junction of the St George-Goondiwindi Road and the St George-Murindi Road is the Nindigully Pub where we stayed the night, taking advantage of the free-camping they advertise.